While the legislature’s busy wrangling with proposed increases in the gross production tax on oil and gas, Guthrie Rep. Jason Murphey says he opposes most tax hikes because they only provide cover for the waste of taxpayer dollars.
It’s what he claimed in his column written for the McCarville Report.
“Specifically, I have repeatedly expressed my fear that a culture of waste has been cultivated within state government as it relates to travel expenses. Each year, millions are spent on what I believe any neutral observer would agree are completely wasteful and unnecessary travel expenditures,” said Murphey.
He cited his growing concerns as allegations were recently raised against one prominent state official.
“The director of one of the state’s retirement systems has been dismissed after an accusation that his agency’s travel money was spent in conjunction with “personal travel.” The allegations call into question approximately $26,000 of travel spend.
Upon seeing this news, one of my first thoughts was, “Isn’t this happening all across state government? Why is this one individual accused of something I have always believed was a defining characteristic of Oklahoma state government?”
I expect this person’s attorney could navigate to data.ok.gov, pull the state’s vendor and credit card payment travel data, and in just a few minutes put together quite a splendid defense.
Depending on the specific circumstances, it may not even be necessary to litigate the propriety of the accused’s alleged actions. Instead, the attorneys may simply point to the millions of wasteful spending and explain that this is just the way business happens in Oklahoma state government. Compared to these millions of dollars, $26,000 is simply a drop in the bucket.
Should this person be held accountable when others are not? Of course, if the accusations are true, he should be accountable for his actions. But a jury might be hard pressed to justify this apparent imbalance of justice.”